Enter restaurant and look for “Please Wait to be Seated” sign… If no sign, seat yourself If sign, then wait The first thing a hostess will ask is how many…you can avoid this just by raising 2-3 fingers when you establish eye contact. In some cities/states, the hostess will ask Smoking or Non-smoking If you do not like the table you are offered, it is acceptable to ask for another one…for instance, if it is near a door which allows cold air to come in, or near a window, or near a server’s station. Turn off your mobile phone, or put it on vibrate. Even though other customers may talk, it is considered somewhat rude. If you need to take a call, excuse yourself from the table and talk in the lobby or outside the restaurant. Manners and customsSeating
While the hostess is taking you to the table, you can ask for a “booster-seat” or “high-chair” for your child, if it is necessary. Manners and customsSeating, cont. Booster seat High-chair
Manners and customsGetting started • As soon as you are seated, place your napkin in your lap. • The host might begin by telling you the daily specials. I don’t usually pay attention—can’t understand this part myself. Sometimes the specials will be written on a chalkboard which the server might point to or bring to the table. • In most restaurants, someone [the “bus boy”] will immediately bring you water. • The server will usually come quickly to take your drink orders. At this point, all the server wants is to say Hi, get a drink order, and keep moving around to other tables. You do not need to order anything—it is perfectly acceptable to just drink the water. If it was not already brought for you, ask for it. You can also order a beverage and also request some water. [Probably a good idea to have the water—refills of it are free…not all restaurants (but most will) offer free refills on beverages and it is not good to be surprised by being charged for 5 Cokes!].
Manners and customsChildren’s issues • You should bring some toys/books for your children. • Some restaurants will offer crayons and a placemat for children to color. • There should be a section of the menu with children’s items [smaller portions & cheaper prices…no, your wife can’t order from it for herself…ha!] • Your children should stay seated and not run around…nor should they be very noisy. If so, one of you should take them on a walk. • If your kids make a mess, leave a really big tip.
Manners and customsMenus • Most the time there are daily specials. Either these are items not usually on the menu, or simply items the management wants to, uh, get rid off. Also, maybe they make a special high profit off them. • In really fancy restaurants [the Refectory], the woman’s menu will not have prices. • The server will wait for you to put the menu down, and then come take your order. As long as the menu is open, the server will think you are still deciding. • It is okay to ask the server some questions about the items on the menu when s/he comes to take your order. You do not need to have already made a final decision.
Manners and customsOrdering • In many restaurants, the servers will specifically ask—can I get you any appetizers or “starters.” These are high-profit items for them. Don’t feel pressured to order them. • You should order an entrée for each person. The menu will say whether the entrée includes a salad and rolls & butter. For the salad, the server will ask, “What kind of dressing do you want on that?” [French, Italian, Ranch, Blue Cheese (sometimes costs extra), Vinaigrette (low fat), 1000 Island]. • Some entrées are considered “a la carte” and you also need to order “sides” such as: french fries or salads or soup, as extra items. A hamburger may, for instance, come with free potato chips but if you want fries it is a little bit more. • If you order a steak or other piece of meat [usually beef], the server will ask “How do you want that cooked?” [Rare, medium-rare, medium, well-done].
Manners and CustomsServing • All your meals are usually served at the same time. If not, try to wait until everyone is served to being eating. If others are served before you, it is your duty to tell them “Go ahead and eat, while it is hot.” • If your food is incorrect, you should tell the server as soon as you realize this. If the server is gone, try to get his/her attention, or be patient for a moment. Servers are trained to return shortly after serving to ask “Is everything okay?” • If your meat is under-cooked, you can “send it back” to the kitchen to be cooked some more. If it is over-cooked, really cooked incorrectly, you can ask for a new meal…this will take time though. If the restaurant is a very nice one, they might allow you to eat it if you want and not charge you for it.
Manners and customsEating • Food in bowls should be eaten with spoons [other than salad]. • Everything else should be eaten with the fork. • In a fancy restaurant there might be multiple forks or spoons. Start on the outside—small “salad” fork to begin with, then larger “dinner” fork for the meal. • If your silverware is dirty, or you drop it on the floor, simply ask for some more. [or grab it yourself off the other table…you won’t usually get yelled at for this!].
Manners and customsFinishing your meal • The server will keep an eye on you and when you are finished, will ask “Can I take that for you?” • If you do not finish, the server might ask if you want to take the remainder home. Even if the server does not ask, you can request it. • At this point, the server will ask if you want dessert. It is customary to wait until after you’ve eaten to order dessert…the server may bring you a dessert menu, or you can ask what they have…you can ask to see the menu again. • It is not uncommon for people to share desserts. You can ask for “a piece of cake and two forks” [or three forks].
Manners and customsPaying the bill • When you are all done, the server will tell you s/he will be right back with the check. • If you are in a hurry, you can ask for the check…otherwise, just wait. The server is usually eager for you to go so s/he can “turn the table” and have new customers. • Most of the time, in a restaurant, you will simply put your credit card or cash with the check and the server will take it to the register and return with the receipt to sign or the change. • Sometimes, you will be expected to take the bill to the register yourself and pay there.
Manners and customsTipping • This is very important! • The server is usually paid minimum wage, or less. Maybe the server only receives $2.50 or $3.00/hour. • The server relies on the tip for the vast majority of his/her wage—this system originated in English hundreds of years ago. • You should pay 15% unless the server is completely incompetent or rude to you. The server should never request a tip, however. • If the food is bad, you should not penalize the server. • It is easiest to pay 20%. Simply divide the amount of the check by 5. • The tip can be left in cash (including coins), even if you pay be credit card. Or, it can be added to the credit card and the restaurant calculates the amount of tips and pays the server in cash. • IMPORTANT: In many restaurants, for a dinner group of 5 or 6 people, or more, the tip is automatically added to the bill !! Therefore, you should be careful not to add another tip. If this is the policy of the restaurant, it will probably be printed on the menu. Or, you can examine the bill itself to see if it is there. If you are still unsure, and you are eating with a large group, you should ask “Has the tip already been added to this?” Sometimes, a server will not expect you to know and hope that you pay an additional tip!
Typical kinds of restaurants • Fast food • Chain restaurants • Burger joints • Bar food/cafeteria • Ethnic food • Italian • Mexican • Chinese • Korean • Thai • Greek • Indian
Typical kinds of drinks • Soft drinks/ordinary beverages • Hard drinks • Hard liquor • Martini • Gin & Tonic • Vodka Tonic • CC & Water [Canadian club] • Bourbon & coke [Jack Daniels & Coca Cola] • Seven & Seven [Seagram’s & 7Up] • Fancy drinks • Pina colada • Daiquiri • Margarita • Mojitos
Ethnic foods • Italian • Mexican • Chinese • Indian • Korean • Thai • Greek
Presentations for Friday • Choose one of the ethnic types of foods [other than Korean!] and give a 3-5 minute presentation to your classmates about it. • Suggestions: • Discuss items on the menu • Show photographs of different specialties • Show an online menu • Recommend some nearby locations